• Offered by School of Culture History and Language
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Course subject Pacific Studies
  • Areas of interest Non Language Asian Studies, Pacific Studies
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person

The South Pacific is a region of diverse and complex island states. Its post-colonial history has been characterized by both stability and turbulence at national, regional and local levels. Pacific leaders have recently taken stock of the situation, affirmed their commitment to maintain and strengthen cultural identities, and endorsed improved regional co-operation as a means toward effective governance, security and development. 

Australia’s policy towards the countries of the South Pacific, long supportive of their independence and economic development, has moved to a more interventionist approach in light of recent conflict in Fiji, the Solomon Islands, Tonga and elsewhere. 

This course aims to enhance understanding of the challenges and prospects facing the contemporary Pacific Islands region. It particularly engages Pacific Island cultural approaches to the current challenges. It is designed for later year undergraduates, graduate students, development practitioners and policy-makers alike. Through a series of short lectures and student-centered seminars the course examines the following topics and issues: 

* Peoples and cultures of Melanesia, Polynesia and Micronesia (focus on social organization, gender and power) 

* Historical roots of the contemporary Pacific

* Conflict, corruption and democracy

* Urbanization, labour mobility and migration

* Case studies on Fiji, Kiribati and the Solomon Islands

* Regionalism and the interests of external powers

* Cultural policy, popular culture, the arts and human development 

* Globalization and the environment (including climate change)

* Pacific Futures

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

At the end of this course students will have:

* Demonstrated a new appreciation and understanding of cultural and political diversity and complexity in the contemporary Pacific through their weekly response papers and multimedia, film and reading set reviews. This writing will synthesize course content and place them in the context of current challenges and issues facing the region including how island countries and peoples are portrayed by the media and donor governments. 

* Produced an individual research project highlighting a contemporary Pacific issue utilising a variety of research techniques including interviews with experts, literature reviews, ethnographic research, comparison and analysis of online sources.

* Presented their individual research projects orally and in a creative format utilising text-based and multimedia tools and resources.

Indicative Assessment

Seminar participation and attendance: 25% (includes leading class discussion, organizing an interactive exercise and 1-2 pages of questions and reflections per week to be archived in a portfolio)  

Review of reading set  - 20% (approx. 4-5 pages) 

Review of exhibition, film or multimedia news set - 15% (approx. 3-4 pages) 

Research project - 40% (1-2 page proposal, 10-12 pages of background, methods, findings, interviews, in-class multimedia presentation and bibliography- no page limit)

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


32 contact hours

Requisite and Incompatibility

You will need to contact the School of Culture History and Language to request a permission code to enrol in this course.

Prescribed Texts

* Globalisation and Governance in the Pacific Islands at ANU EPress:


* Culture and Sustainable Development in the Pacific (2000/ 2005) at ANU EPress: 


* Readings will also be distributed electronically via Web CT or email, along with audiovisual materials occasionally viewed in class.

Preliminary Reading

* Pre-course reading:

Culture and Sustainable Development in the Pacific (2000/ 2005) at ANU EPress: 


Introduction by Tony Hooper

Chapter 1: Culture and Sustainable Development in the Pacific by Langi Kavaliku 

Chapter 2: The Ocean in Us by Epeli Hau'ofa 




Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Students continuing in their current program of study will have their tuition fees indexed annually from the year in which you commenced your program. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee Description
1994-2003 $1164
2014 $2478
2013 $2472
2012 $2472
2011 $2424
2010 $2358
2009 $2286
2008 $2286
2007 $2286
2006 $2190
2005 $2190
2004 $1926
International fee paying students
Year Fee
1994-2003 $2574
2014 $3246
2013 $3240
2012 $3240
2011 $3240
2010 $3240
2009 $3240
2008 $3240
2007 $3240
2006 $3240
2005 $3234
2004 $2916
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

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